Free Press Trips: How to Turn Your Interests and Hobbies into Free Travel
Yesterday I sent you notes from two of your fellow readers. One just published his second article in a local magazine. And the other found success selling fine art photos of her hometown. If you missed these two stories, you can read them here: AWAI Success Stories.
Today, let’s take a look at the success story of another one of your fellow readers. Alan McBride is using his writing to land exotic, free press trips, yoga lessons, resort stays, and more. He writes:
“I purchased the Travel Writer’s Program in 2001, and it took me until 2008 to start working on it. Sad, I know! And until earlier this year, when I re-did my web page and started in earnest, I was a little skeptical about writing for a living. But I wanted to let you know that I’m now off and running!
“So far, I’ve written several articles for WorldReviewer.com. I’ve had a two-week, all-inclusive tour to Borneo… I’m waiting to be approved to visit Panama on a free press trip to write about birds and natural history. And just this morning, I was invited to France for another free press trip to complete a story I pitched last week.
“Not bad for a ‘non-believer!’ Thanks for all the help your program provided!”
You’ll find a complete interview with Alan that explains how he got started below.
Director, Great Escape Publishing
WRITING IN EXCHANGE FOR FREE VACATIONS
Interview with reader Alan McBride
TRWTT: Hi Alan. Let me get straight to the chase. Were you a writer before you started the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program?
ALAN: No. Not really, I was in business for thirty years, more than ten of which were spent restoring under-performing assets for large corporations. Before that, I had 20 years in advertising sales for TV and radio stations. I had done a little copywriting for radio clients and, of course, I have 30 years of writing presentations, business reports, documents, web pages contribution, etc.
TRWTT: In your note, you mentioned writing for WorldReviewer.com. How did you get into writing for that site?
ALAN: Someone recommended me to them as an expert birdwatcher. So they asked me to contribute. I don’t know who recommended me. I wrote a story on Christmas Island and Kakadu. I think when readers or editors look at it, they can see it is a credible site, which is what I want to market myself as: credible.
TRWTT: You recently went on a free press trip to Borneo. Can you tell us how you landed such a cool trip and where you’re planning to publish the stories from it?
ALAN: It was a two-week, all-inclusive tour. I went to write about everything but orangutans. I visited the fabulous Sabah Festival for their opening night celebrations, Sandakan, Sepilok, and the fantastic Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Dannum Valley.
I got the free press trip by writing to Sabah Tourism and suggesting that I could write on endemic birds and mammals. They had a trip going to write on Sabah Fest 09 and asked if I was interested.
One birding story from that trip is going into a US birding newsletter. And a Sepliok story is already on WorldReviewer.com. I’ve also just finished 2,000 words on Giant Clams that I’ll send to some natural history magazines and dive magazines. From that trip, I’m writing about five other stories, mostly on birds and/or jungle lodges.
While I was in Borneo, I also helped a hotel (the Nexus Resort) with their “Bird List.” It’s a sheet of paper that they give to guests with photos of birds found around the resort. Part of it was incorrect. So I organized with a photographer friend to come up with some updated and correctly named photos. He and I are now supplying this to the hotel. As payment, we get annual visits to the resort for a couple of days.
TRWTT: And you’ve just been invited to France, too. Can you tell us a little bit about how that came about?
ALAN: France is the same as Borneo. I had an idea and sent off a suggestion. They said yes, and I’ll go there on a free press trip in September. I’m also waiting to hear back about an idea for a Panama trip.
TRWTT: Well it sounds like you’re off to a great start. What are your goals for the rest of the year?
ALAN: All of this has been a marketing exercise. I need to establish a name and a style. But my primary goal is to get paid for stories. The travel writing is great and the trips are sensational.
I also need to upgrade my camera and equipment, so I’m looking for a client who wants to barter a Canon EOS 1Ds and 5Ds and lenses in exchange for copywriting services. I’d also love to attend a workshop somewhere.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]